President Trump Continues to Wage Relentless Campaign to Dismantle the ACA, Violating Constitutional Duty to Faithfully Execute the Law

Millions of Americans Have Lost Insurance Coverage, Suffered Double Digit Increases in Health Premiums Due to Trump’s Lawbreaking

Cities of Columbus, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, and Philadelphia, and Charlottesville Residents, Amend Lawsuit to Fight Trump Administration Sabotage


Washington, DC — Today, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the sixth largest city in the country, joined a coalition of individuals and cities representing nearly six million Americans in their suit against the Trump Administration’s intentional and unlawful sabotage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The plaintiffs, represented by Democracy Forward, amended their complaint, detailing President Trump’s most recent deliberate and systematic attacks on the health law, which have driven premiums up and pushed Americans off of quality insurance plans. President Trump’s intentional sabotage of the ACA violates his constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

President Trump’s most recent efforts to sabotage the ACA include additional cuts to outreach and advertising funding and attempts to undermine the exchanges by pushing non-ACA compliant junk plans. The Trump Administration’s intentional and unlawful acts of sabotage since the suit’s initial filing five months ago have made quality health insurance more expensive and less accessible. Impacts as shown by statistics include:

  • The number of uninsured Americans is going up. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the number of uninsured Americans under age 65 rose from 27 million in a 2016 study to 29 million in a 2018 study. A recent Gallup pollshows that the uninsured rate is currently at a four-year high;

  • Premiums are higher than they would be without President Trump’s sabotage. From 2017 to 2018, premiums increased by 37% for a benchmark plan under the ACA. Studies estimate that nationwide, the average unsubsidized annual insurance premium in 2019 is between $580 and $970 higher than it would be otherwise; and

  • Americans have fewer insurers to choose from. The average number of insurers per state fell from 5.6 in 2016 to 4.0 in 2019.

“President Trump has explicitly and repeatedly declared that he wants to destroy the Affordable Care Act,” said Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy. “His actions have not only hurt the American people by driving up the cost of insurance and making it harder for Americans to obtain quality healthcare, they also violate his constitutional duty to enforce the law.”

“The President has blatantly ignored his constitutional obligation to uphold the law – in this case, the Affordable Care Act,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Philadelphia is proud to join with other cities and individuals who are asking the Court to protect the ACA. We need to thwart these shameful efforts to sabotage health care coverage for millions of Americans.”

The suit challenges the Administration’s attempts to sabotage the ACA under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution. The Plaintiffs ask that the court order the President and his Administration to take certain steps to faithfully execute the law, including restoring funding for advertising and for Navigator groups, expanding open enrollment periods, and promoting the availability of comprehensive, reasonably-priced health insurance for individuals and families with preexisting conditions.

The cities of Columbus, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Chicago, and residents of Charlottesville, VA originally filed suit on August 2, 2018 in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. On December 24, 2018, the Trump Administration moved to dismiss their case, defending its illegal sabotage of the ACA and ignoring the clear evidence that its sabotage has made premiums higher than they would be otherwise. Earlier in 2018, the Trump Administration refused to defend the ACA in ongoing litigation in Texas.

Read the amended complaint here.


Democracy Forward is a nonprofit legal organization that scrutinizes Executive Branch activity across policy areas, represents clients in litigation to challenge unlawful actions, and educates the public when the White House or federal agencies break the law.

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